Epilepsy Talk

Exercise for your mind and body | March 14, 2022

Many people with epilepsy, especially those with uncontrolled seizures, live a sedentary life and have low physical fitness.

Because they’ve been told that exercise can trigger seizures. 

Not necessarily so. At least for a large population of those with epilepsy.

Clinical and experimental studies have analyzed the effect of physical exercise on epilepsy.

The result? Exercise can be beneficial.

Regular physical exercise may have a moderate seizure preventive effect in 30-40% of the patient population, while in about 10%, strenuous exercise may provoke seizures.

Although there are rare cases of exercise-induced seizures, studies have shown that physical activity can decrease seizure frequency, as well as lead to improved cardiovascular and psychological health in people with epilepsy.

Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, clearly benefits people with epilepsy because it often reduces seizure frequency, relieves depression, reduces social isolation, and promotes cardiac and general health.

In one study, 14 women completed a 3-month prospective exercise program and reported a significant reduction in seizure frequency during the period in which they exercised.

In another prospective study, 26 children with intractable epilepsy underwent video-EEG monitoring during exercise and more than half showed a significant improvement in their EEG activity. A survey of 74 patients with epilepsy reported that those who exercised had significantly fewer seizures.

Research has found that most people with epilepsy experience improved electroencephalograph (EEG) readings during and after exercise.

The reasons for this are unknown, but theories include:

The heavy breathing associated with exercise stops the build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood…

Reduction and management of stress…

Increase of ‘feel good’ brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) may calm the brain…

Concentration may focus the brain so that seizures are less likely…

Now, I’m not saying you should hike up Mt. Everest, sail the Bahamas, or swim across the Atlantic Ocean.

Hang gliding and sky diving aren’t such a good idea either.  And I wouldn’t recommend roller blades, skiing, or motorcycle jaunts.

But if you listen to your body, stop when you start feeling tired and slowly build up your routine, exercise can make you feel good, look great and put your mind in a better place.

Personally, I’ve been walking 3 miles a day for 20 years.  I find it energizing and calming at the same time. Sometimes, I use “heavy hands” which start at one pound each.

When I was younger, I was up to 5 pounds in each hand, but age has caught up with me, I’m sad to say.

Other things you can try are: aerobics, use of a recumbent exercise bicycle, Pilates, yoga, and light weight-bearing exercises. But be sure you have a trainer and please, skip the treadmill or the elliptical machine, no matter how macho you’re feeling.

Also, keep these exercise safety points in mind, for your own protection:

Before starting any new exercise program, consult with your doctor or specialist.

Avoid known seizure triggers.

Do NOT exercise alone.

Make sure your sporting companions are aware of your condition and know what to do if you have a seizure.

If you are going for a walk or jog, let family or friends know your route before you leave and how long you will be out.

And don’t forget to have FUN!!!

Another article of interest: Exercise May Reduce the Risk of Epilepsy Later in Life for Men


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  1. Reblogged this on Disablities & Mental Health Issues.


    Comment by Kenneth — March 14, 2022 @ 11:01 AM

  2. I am or WAS who knows, in that group of the 10% where if I worked a lot during a day, especially in the warm temps outside, a seizure is maybe a threat to me of having. I can think back to 2009 when that happened sawing fire wood, splitting it by hand with an axe & mull, loading it on the truck & stacking it, and I later had a GRAND MAL seizure that OCTOBER evening. It’s that time again but in the early spring before the warm temps come, as they are going to start around here this week. IF you think of the number 13 in warm & cold days , you can almost know what days & months work like that should be & get done. MARCH is the 3rd month, OCTOBER the 10th month, as I would no earlier than 4 & 9, April & September cutting wood or if some warmer or cooler days happen from October to March, as all the NO R months from MAY to AUGUST never has my interest in working with cutting & splitting fire wood unless it has already been cut & split by another person, as a friend of mine has a huge pile that he would never burn in 10 years. Then you may have snakes to deal with in those NO R months So maybe you can do harder work in SEPTMBER through APRIL all R months, if in Nov, Dec. Jan & Feb the temps are not so cold that you can not keep the blood warm to do that harder & physical work where a seizure may NOT happen, because of the warmer temps & air will not effect your brain chemistry. I am always watching for seizure signs were trimming & grass cutting has to get done in those NO R months, as come SeptembeR I am ready to quit the grass cutting & trimming after 5 to 6 months. MAY & AUGUST 13, JUNE & JULY 13 and in APRIL & SEPTEMBER 4 & 9th months,, =’s 13, which are sometimes safer months to do harder work if it has to be done, than JUNE & JULY,,,, MAY & AUGUST, all 4 are the middle months of a calender year. All to say that this XCOPRI drug seems to be working to help the calming areas of the brain like in raising the GABA levels neurotransmitter which relaxes the brain chemistry better, than depending on glutamate to turn into GABA when it does not want to do that. No seizures in 2022, as this time last year I had 2 without taking XCOPRI then.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by James D — March 14, 2022 @ 4:58 PM

  3. I meant to say that the 50MGS & 150MG tablets have been the best & safest for me or anyone to take unless people like ALUMINUM in their blood brain barrier & you feel worse by taking the other MGS tablets.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by James D — March 14, 2022 @ 5:00 PM

  4. Keep the good work up phyllis

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Rodney minnis — March 14, 2022 @ 6:36 PM

  5. 🙂 I just got thru cutting wood and it’s the ides of March, almost, not a good day for Caesar. I also take a Gaba Medicine called Gabapentin and it’s been a very good med for me.

    As for the exercise, i personally would do the ones closer to the ground, like sit ups or push ups. I don’t like to stand for long because when u r standing it’s a long way down to terra ferma. Don’t get me wrong, if i need to stand, i will to complete the task at hand but i don’t stand around just to stand around, i’d rather sit or lean on something if i’m standing around and can’t sit.

    “exercise can make you feel good, look great and put your mind in a better place.” I know something else that can do the same thing, THC. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Zolt — March 14, 2022 @ 7:11 PM

  6. This is definitely true. I like to be active (have anxiety disorders too) But it’s mostly running and yoga that I like. It’s great for distraction. I used to go to the gym, but I prefer to be in the fresh air. And if I run with a friend, I’ll have to cut it short. So it’s better to run alone during the day, but I always call my best friends when and where I’ll be running for a while. It really helps you keep a healthy body and mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by kate — March 14, 2022 @ 11:48 PM

  7. I definitely agree with this post. Exercising and being active is very beneficial. I’ve also been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, so it keeps me distractive from all my worries (especially work). I prefer running outdoors and doing yoga than going to the gym.But if I do decide to go for a run, I prefer to go alone. I always have to cut it short when I go with a friend. So I usually call to inform them about my daily run.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by kate — March 15, 2022 @ 12:42 AM

  8. oops, sorry for responding twice. I didn’t see my first reply. But thanks for your insight and great advice on all your posts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by kate — March 16, 2022 @ 12:27 AM

  9. Phylis, this is great advice. But Still very difficult to achieve some of these excellent pointers (I tend to get way over my head and being a perfectionist). But I’m so glad people take anxiety seriously. And It’s definitely a Good idea to Also talk to someone you can trust and express all your worries without feeling doubt that the person might not understand. Friend or a therapist are very helpful…trying any natural techniques and suggestions that don’t involve taking more meds than I already do. Thanks again 🙂


    Comment by Kate — March 19, 2022 @ 12:13 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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